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tv   Oral Histories  CSPAN  September 10, 2016 12:50pm-1:46pm EDT

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and in the skies above washington, d.c. pentagoner was in his office that morning. he heard a low rumble as the commercial plane tore through the building. as chief of the defense protective service, he was at the center of the emergency response. this interview is about one hour. on septemberester, 11, 2001, your title the pentagon was chief of defensive protective services. what does that mean? john: i was responsible for the security of the facility. we basically supply or applied to services to secure the building, and also other office buildings in the metropolitan and washington area. steve: in all of your planning, did you ever prepare for a plane to hit the side of the pentagon? ahn: we actually did, but not
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757. ironically, it was about when event,before that october 2000, and we were doing some training scenarios. since we are right in line with runway 15 and the airport, this is really the front of the building. it is not merely the scope of what happened to us, but we did think about the plane but not in the nature of a plane flying into the building like a bomb. steve: as you are thinking about that, to your member what questions or scenarios you were asking not anticipating? john: we knew a fire would be one of the biggest issues, a building hitting the building and evacuated the people. we did some thrills when you're before then and we put in a system, trying to improve the communications to the employees because the building the size of the pentagon with simply 22,000 people, or 17 miles of hallway, hard to communicate to them?
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we did different exercises to improve how he would evacuate people in preparation for whatever the event would happen. one thing we also did that we did not think about in regards to a plane is that the pentagon started the renovation program and we had just completed the renovation of what we called the first section, and i had worked hard to get blast proof windows, not thinking of planes for more of a bomb. the heart of the new director of the renovation program and he agreed to put these strong windows, which he had to put in some heavy reinforcements with those in that part of the building -- the plane hit the touring the first renovated area and the area not renovated, so the windows helped save lives so we had some proper preparations.
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steve: explain the security apparatus within the pentagon, so many different layers, and where you fit in the picture. john: we supply the premier security. we do a routine -- we were like this little police department for the pentagon complex and patrol officers were around the building and on foot and we controlled access to the building. additional layers in the building, we also controlled military command centers. steve: what is your background in this? john: i had been in the law enforcement security field for i guess 15 years before i went to the pentagon. steve: take us through the morning of september 11, 2001. how did you do begin, when did you first arrive at the pentagon, and where was your office located? blue it was a beautiful sky day and i had taken one week off before then and i was well rested. i decided to have a big breakfast and i went to my office early in the morning,
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about two and 7:30 and i was catching up on things from the previous week. something, i got a call from someone i worked with quite frequently and it said, john, there was a plane that hit the tower in new york, and i did not know about it so i turned the tv on and i saw the twin towers smoking. steve: this is about 8:45. john: yes, and it wasn't long after that the second plane hit. toalled our operation center push up our security levels and we had dod threat conditions or threatcons and we were at threatcon normal and raced at one level up, basically, putting more visibility on the outside. also, for the employees, we
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would show them that we were doing something to increase security around the building. steve: how quickly were you able to mobilize that higher security? john: pretty much instantaneously. we put people out on the outside of the building. steve: do you remember what you first thought when you saw the first plane hitting the first tower? john: i did not think it was just a simple plane hitting the tower as it is too big a building and i thought it was some type of terrorism. i was suspicious right in the beginning that it was the terrorism act. steve: in the time between the first and second plane in new york, what were you doing? john: i was coordinating with my personnel and i was going to who to my boss, david cook, was talking about what we were ifng, thinking about anything happened here, and i guess in my mind, i was saying,
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it was kind of wishful thinking that it would not happen here and you don't think things will happen to you, but later, i was going on the country to give lessons learned from 9/11, and my first was, do not think it cannot happen in your watch. was talking" nadine and seeing where things were and trying to get an assessment of what was going on in the world that day. after it was shortly 9:00, light cameras in new york, or people saw the second plane hit the second tower. were you watching? john: no, i was moving around the building. i went to the operation center first and went down to see mr. cook. i was kind of moving back and forward between my office sent operation center. steve: when did you hear about the second plane and what was your reaction? john: i had just come back from my office and saw the second plane hit. and then that confirmed that it
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was an attack. steve: walk us through the mobilization between 9:05 and 9:30. john: it was, again, just looking at what we could do to improve our visibility around the building, what we could do to prepare for what might occur at the pentagon, making sure that we were -- our communication was intact in terms of communicating with people all around the facility and trying to assure that different people in the building that we are doing some things to make sure you are safe today because they were all seen that on tv, also, so we wanted to make sure that we hoped would calm them down and that nothing is happening at the pentagon at this time. were people nervous, concerned? what was the mood from people you are interacting with? they were somewhat concerned. the pentagon is the unique
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building. we have a building that probably have the population is active duty military and the other half is just most of them have been in the military, so it is a building that i would say could deal with the issue more so than the building where no one has been into the military situation. there was some nervous aspects on everyone's part on is that all? are we finished for today or with something else happened? that was the main concern, not knowing what could occur. steve: the flight path for those flying into reagan international is the potomac, adjacent to the pentagon, so it is not unusual that you would hear and see planes all day. john: they come right over the river entrance. one is in line with the edge of not only are so the commuter aircraft, but larger planes would be farther toward the potomac. steve: did you hear or see
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anything unusual? john: no. steve: 9:37, the plane hits the pentagon. where were you? had just walked into my office and had just come to the door and all i hear is a low rumble, a rumbling noise and the light fixtures were vibrating. my office was probably 80 to 100 yards from where the plane stopped, kind of around the corner from it. one of my employees, says, chief, we have been hit and you see this black smoke of fire rolling across the building on the west side. i immediately ran from there down to our operation center to get an assessment of what had happened, and when i got down there, every bone in the room ng andinking -- ringi housing that tv monitors -- and
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every phone in the room was ringing and never ever going to the tv monitors and i asked to see right where the plane came in. i kept saying, show me the camera, show me the camera. that is where the plane came in, and we lost the camera, so i stayed there for quite a while and the guys there did a fantastic job. they had already talked to the fire department. they had actually requested helicopter support because we knew there would be casualties. they had done fantastic jobs. at the same time, we were getting some smoke coming in there, but they stayed through the entire event. i stayed there for quite some time, and then i went around, through the inside of the inter-roadway in the building, and a one to get my eyes on the event and see what had occurred, so i went down this one roadway and i could see were the plane had knocked the last hole. the roadway there was about
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[indiscernible] went through, a tort waterlines, so there was water everywhere. i tried to go in one of the stairwells, but the heat was so intense and really dense and black smoke, and the windows started popping out everywhere, so i went back to the communication center and found my way to the outside, where i met with the assistant prior chief for the county, and i spent quite a good time talking about what they were doing, what support he would need and what kind of special support, for to our, i requested integration office, i got all the building plans because i knew we would need building plans when we searched for survivors are casualties that later points, so i was asking, what can i do to support and we had worked together for a long time here and we had a fantastic relationship with the fire
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department and we exercised with them before, so it wasn't like we did not know each other. we knew each other by first name and that helped out having worked together, so i stayed up for quite some time and then i would run back directly to the secretary defense office, and he was in the office of secretary defense operation center to get reports about where we were. my first report was eight casualties at the time, all we knew in the moment, but try to get an assessment of what was going on and happening with the fire, what we knew about any casualties, and i spent quite a bit of time going between that location and outside and then trying to coordinate of their support because at the time, everyone was coming to help us out. we had fire departments coming called forthey assistance, so everybody came to help us out. one of the great things about
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the washington areas is that we all work together and you each other well, and so when something happens, the mutual aid agreements come together and we worked together well, so that is one of the great things in terms of responding to an event. everyone came together to help us that day. steve: go back to a couple of moments. first of all, when you heard was ahud, did you know it plane or a bomb question mark what was your instinct? john: i think the plane. having seen what happened in new york, it was too long though grumble like it was tearing through the building. it went off for several seconds, and it was not one big or loud explosion or what i would call a .umbling noise as the plane tour through the building, a tour through several rings. it tore through three of the rings. the building was shredded apart by the columns.
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back -- that type of vibration in the concrete building was vibrating around and all the light fixtures were shaking. they caused a really loud rumble and you knew when you saw the amount of smoke and fire and it was dark, black smoke and you knew it was a plane. steve: as you watched from your office to the command center, do you remember what you were thinking? john: i was thinking, this is going to be a big incident to try to control, to try to keep track of what is going on and coordinate. not knowing later on how big it would be. i had been involved in instances before but not anything to this extent. to putghts were, we have commands in the control system and that was my thought. how are we going to put our hands around this thing and have some controls and clinician with everyone? steve: the first response is to
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bring in any casualties to save lives, so how did you go about that? john: many of our police officers and employees, i think one of the great scenes and you look at some of the tv pictures later on. i was looking at them. people evacuated the building first, and then you see them going back to the fight and that is where the military mindset set in to go in and bring out your fellow employee, and you see them coming back in and trying to get into the building. it was difficult because of the and she askedke -- and there were different windows blown out on different sides and you cannot see anyone. follow my voice, come to me, and they were bringing people out. you had the military civilian employees, police officers from the defense protective service,
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you had police officers that everyone needed time to get them out and the overall general population live do it from the building. at some point, while i was there, the fire truck load their horns -- blew their horns and i asked, what is that question mark and they said, a signal. they had just gotten a call that there was a second plane inbound. the people had begun to creep in a little bit and we had to move them away toward the crystal city side of the building and moved them away. i remember seeing some people then. you could see some fear in their eyes on, what is happening now? i said, what in the -- to quote some, they said, what in the hell is happening to the
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world today? that was probably the most feared i saw that day, the threat of the second plane. that did not occur. steve: but you did not know. john: no, we did not know, that was another thing, not knowing what was going on from the standpoint of where the planes were up and where they were going. that was a major challenge for all of us. steve: you are in the command center and smelling this smoke. when you first walked into the area that was hit, what did you see question mark what did it look like -- what did you see? what did it look like and what do remember? john: it was hard to see because of the dense black smoke and the size of the hole in the wall on the other side of the c-ring, completely destroyed. you could see a little bit and you could see there are parts of a plane in their. on the outside of the building, you saw bits and pieces of the
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plane, a small pieces. do sought a car on fire, a car and a fire truck that was on as the plane came in, it came in very low, and with the videotape we got from the camera, it is almost like sliding across. you could see where it came in and outside of the building. it was a truck with a generator in it as part of the renovation efforts, and the plane came in and the right plane hit that trailer and that was the first fireball, when the wing hit that. it took the plane a little bit this way, and it went right through the building at that point. steve: did you talk to anyone who actually saw the plane hit the pentagon? john: couple of our police officers saw it come into the pentagon and the plane came in extremely fast and it just went
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wide open. steve: were they hustled her stunned? john: shocked. when you see the film in the video, it just happens that the estimated plane was probably fine 500 miles an hour and it was just there and it was boom -- it hit. it showered debris at one of the control points on the roadways and things were showering down by the control point, but you just turn around and there was. it happened quickly. no time. steve: how many pentagon employees were killed on that date? john: 125. i don't recall the number of injured. some are very badly burned. we were very fortunate that the plane hit right between where we had renovated and the area that
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had not been renovated. they had just begun to move people into the new area, and the new area had sprinkler systems, the glass proof windows and other security things he had done to strengthen the walls in the place. the other side of the building was the next space to be renovated, said people have but weo move out probably had a hundred people and that the renovation had been involved, it probably would have been a couple thousand. they had some employees in that part of the building because of the renovation program. steve: how did you get hold of your life and what was your son doing? john: i did not have my cell phone and i had been all my charger, so i ran upstairs to get my phone and i thought, i better call my wife because she has a great view down the river
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from her office to the pentagon. i called and she had been trying to call me and she cannot get it because everybody evacuated the building. say, it is me, i am ok, i have got to go. a commercialwas pilot, he called her and said, look down for the pentagon, which caused her to think i was killed for a few minutes until i called her, so he came down, picked her up and took her home. i got home about 5:00 in the morning. i had a blue suit on and my shoes were soaking wet and i was a real mess and i came home, took a shower, put some new clothes on and went back to work. it was 6:00 in the morning, i guess. steve: your son is a pilot, what did he say about the events that day? standpoint, it was the fear that it could happen to you, i guess, and i recall that when the planes are
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actually allowed to fly again, he was flying a flight and one of the names of the people on the flight was an arabic name and they had to check the person out, and they said, ok, look, and they told him that if anything happens, we're going to make the plane to everything and no one is going to walk toward the cockpit. the lateing us back to morning, early afternoon hours. but what is happening over the skies of washington, above the pentagon, how was the rescue operation going on what were you doing? john: i cannot recall the exact time, but at some point, again, was mainlynt, it getting people out and in f-16 blue over the building and that was a beautiful sight that you fromthat there was a plane
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saint andrews or language, and it was kind of a reassuring feeling that we had there. we still had -- steve: why? john: we thought that not knowing what would happen to the plane, but we felt it could control the sky then. what i didn't know is what he had done in terms of the aircraft. i didn't not know what was happening in new york is also focused on the pentagon, so might outside news, for all the planes in the united states, i did not know that. i was focused on that event. i did not know the world trade towers had fallen until 6:00 that evening. i said, what do you mean? he said, they are gone. i spent my time working with the fire department, working with the other people come in there and trying to coordinate and assist us, and that went on for quite some time, and i had time to sit down and talk to the fire
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chief about this or beat a long events, so we talked about the control for quite some time, and i arranged -- i guess about 5:00, we talked about control in the building and we used what was called the instant command system. it is the fire department. the fbi was there at the time. we all knew each other, so we were coordinating about the the commandats do and control. the fbi had coincidently prepared for the big demonstration i believe that the world bank where there were demonstrations there and they had arranged for a command center to be placed in fort myers, and they had little id cards made up for that event. they had the world bank and imf bank on the id cards, so they use that facility as the command post for the pentagon event, and
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id cards that were used for --ess had the world bank kind of funny -- but it was just there and we needed to have an off site command center for the many things that were occurring at that time. when i got back and as time went andwe had more fire trucks every fire department in the metropolitan area. they used the mutual aid programs to get fire trucks from every which way to come out. we called in metro buses. we took metro buses were people could take a break. we had like five buses, so firemen would go, sit down, and kind of get out of the area for a minute to take a break and then go back in again. thing,s the biggest getting your hands around everything that was occurring that they, and making sure you
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had the control of what was going on. we had to extend our perimeter around the building and shut down the highway bill washington boulevard, the west side, and we had to shut that down and we just shut the metro station down, so he kept extending our permit around the facility that day. that was a real challenge because you have that many people on duty, it was difficult for employees to support that day, the ones not working and we had to call everyone in and we had to find a way to get in that day and we basically worked at a much 24 hours that day, everyone, and we were able to get to 12 hours or so. steve: you knew everyone on board that plane who died instantly. john: yes, it was no doubt that the plane was shredded to pieces. the building has [indiscernible] that 20 feet, and a report was done by engineering organizations later, the
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building when it was designed back in 1941, some of the engineers had come from california, so some of the structure requirements were doing with their critics, so there was reborn the columns and -- rebar in the columns and a start building and they basically shredded the plane, and that is like some people it's not hit the building because you cannot see it well enough, [indiscernible] andit was all small pieces basically tore the plane apart. steve: when you say set up a command post. explain what is involved in what the priorities are. john: when you have a major event such as a terrorist attack or fire or whatever you have, andusually have command control, and over several years, they have put together what is
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called the instant command system and someone has to be in charge. many chiefsave too at an event because you lose command so the instant system is set up so you have one person in charge and the coronation from the same point of logistics and operations, so it sets up really quickly so that one person is the instant command or and you feed everything to the instant commander and my job at that point was to know what was on the property and what can i do to support the fire chief? is determined by what is going on at the time. it was a fire for a couple of days and we burned from was 2.5 days because of the old wooden roof, so we had fire for 2.5 days and people still came to work the next day. road, some point down the the command was turned over to the fbi because it was a crime
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scene and they had to go in and do their investigation and at the same time, we were removing bodies at the same time, too. wasr so many days, the fbi turned back over to my put thetion and a building back together, but [indiscernible] and that is the command and control structure that you said that for the instant commander. steve: for those who survived, did you see anyone being pulled out of the debris? if so, what did you see in your interaction with them or on their faces? just saw people not knowing what occurred. it happened so quickly that people in the building and the army lieutenant colonel i met several months later, we were doing presentations with him, and they were just simply all of a sudden, fireballs were going
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down the hallways. he had happened to go down to amend to and went down to a section that had this been closed system, and a fireball was in the hallway and sent him on fire, but he was under a sprinkler system so he was safe. depending on where you were that day, it was a life or death situation. if you happened to be there and that one section, you are most likely killed when the plane hit. just chaos. people were trying to evacuate the building, furniture was torn up, and you had to claw your way through in this dense smoke, and that is why what helped was people calling out, follow my voice, follow my voice because you cannot go in there because of the heat and the heat was several thousand degrees. --some point, i guess about
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i guess later on, when our so, the section of building collapsed and it fell down. we think that hopefully because of what we did with the strength of the walls, it stayed up longer than it would have. steve: did anything prepare you for this day? john: i think so. about how weng would do an evacuation for the building and how it would control the people. the training we had with the aboutepartment, knowing the instant command system and how that works and training in that system, all of those things together about how you manage an event -- my job that day was primarily to manage the event, what was going on. i found it difficult at times when you get out and do some things. right to beve some
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managed in the event and cannot get out, and it is a challenge sometimes because you want to get your hands dirty with that but you cannot very do have to manage from the command standpoint. was in hisfeld office on the other side of the building. john: if you went over to the site, i do not mind -- and that security staff went over there and he helped carry individuals out of the building. he was actually being involved and i talk to him later that day and was he was very concerned but he made a point that we are not going to run. he made it very clear to me that this building was still operational, even though we were on fire and we had the major it, we were still operational. he said that one point, the situation is normal in the
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policy was not, but his point was the pentagon is still in operation, no matter if we have been hit by a plane or not, we are still operational, and i thought it was a great point that he made -- a statement to the world. steve: how often on that day did you interact with them? john: probably three times or four times. just quickly. i spent the day basically running around from one point in briefing and going back to the command post inside and outside, but several times that day, trying to keep either him or his office staff informed of what was going on. steve: you said earlier it was later in the day, maybe early evening when you had the full picture of the day events. blockbuster that moment. when did you fully realize everything that had happened, not only in the pentagon, but in pennsylvania, new york, the big picture? john: it was probably around
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6:00 that evening. been control to some degree and three had a certain picture but had happened. we had the ones that we felt renew moreut and about what had happened in terms of new york. again, i learned about the towers falling later that evening. i cannot see the tv or hear the news during the day. started -- igs hate to use the word settled down, but we could sit there and talk about where to go next, and that is where i talked to the fire chief about command and control structure for the following days, and we had a meeting with the fbi, fire department and organization to set up what we we do that night
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and they decide to put the command center in fort myers. in teams fromd around the country and at the theagon -- and i left pentagon about 3:00 in the morning, went to my home, change clothes, showered, came back and when i got there, the equipment there was doubled in that short time. that next day, it kept doubling in the area on the west side of the building, the city attends, mobile command post, so much so they had topoint, drop a map because when they came in, the cannot find [indiscernible] we had a task force from memphis beach, one from out west, new mexico, not sure, the local fire departments, police departments
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there, army chaplains there, renovation stuff there, and it was just a mess of people there. next daysed what the would be. we had to secure the entire facility because on the inside, too, because it was a crime scene, yet, had the other part of the building that was still operational, even the next day. one of the things i remember is the chief of the metro transit police and they had used the crystal city station or the pentagon city station as the metro point for the pentagon, and john, this is unbelievable, look at the people walking toward the metro and that is right, we are still in business over here. that went on for many, many days. essentially had to
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become a mini city, facilities for the personnel, volunteers, places for them to eat. john: it did and the next day, i saw people putting up tents and i thought, who are they and what are they doing? it is hard to find someone who was in charge. i told the police officers, to arthur putting up the tents, and then they would come to me and it was the red cross on there, and there was a big mobile kitchen. over time, we had the mobile mcdonald's, burger king, steak, and we had some people from arkansas that came up, and we had a whole operation data feed all the workers for days and days. they came there, and we have to enforce base exchange come there with a big trailer full of , and i dry socks, hats said, bring american flags, too.
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everybody had american flags on every piece of equipment you could see that day, but everybody wanted to help. had trailers of fodder. that was fantastic. it makes you feel good when you see the red cross and salvation i guess that was -- they were all there in a guess it was a surprise to me to andhow they could mobilize every thing we needed was right there. steve: what about john jester? was there a personal, emotional moment that did that you remember? john: glenn they were -- when there was part of the second plane, i remember thinking, what is going on today. a feeling of,geez, what is
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happening? the world trade towers, the pentagon, what else will happen? that was one moment. and then seeing the people, and the employees coming back in, and was another moment seeing all the support that we and people i had worked with for years, i guess it was like many moments that was occurring that day. -- notthe saddest things that day -- i had to take some officials coming on for tours, and one was where the families could see the area from a distance away, and they had put flowers and things, and there was a note there that tour you
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up. it was to a little boy to his father, thank you for teaching me how to play baseball. it was hard. steve: his dad died? john: yes. enemies -- he was be in the knees. very sad. as you look back into the evening hours, what was your job? same thing. keeping track of what was going on, who was there, trying to maintain security with a hole in your belly. my staff did a fantastic job. we had to keep track of classified materials. around.aterial blowing they knew exactly what to do. they started picking up classified material.
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-- weekday 300 classified in the building. many of them were burned. we had to open them up with tools. keeping track of the security was a big thing. as i recall the president wanted to be at the pentagon shortly after the attacks. how did you prepare for that? to the secreted service which we have worked with many times. it was a routine with us. they would come to us and say this is what is going to happen and we worked together with them . we had many visitors, president from chevron not see
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in georgia and generals from ,hat had happened to i remember the big american flag was on the side of the building, i recall see weto him, as you can wear patriotism on our sleep. host: as you were driving home the next morning what were you thinking? guest: what about tomorrow? what do i have to do tomorrow. i am a what if person. what if this occur, what would i do. what with the organization do? what if this occurs, how am i going to react. how will the organization react. i am trying to stay ahead of where things are.
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i was constantly doing it for days and days. , it wouldlace secure operate no matter what. said, business as usual. sure that the business could go on in the holding even though art of the building was destroyed. the building was so operational. host: what did you look like and feel like you walk into the door? guest: you mean the door to? home? i was a mess. wet, ihing was soaking had to wade through water. i was a real mess. my son and my wife were there. , knew the next day coming home we were working 18 or 20 hour days. son hadowing day, my
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put an american flag our mailbox. that was very good. flags were everywhere. flags were everywhere. that was a good feeling. host: what did he tell you? it demonstrated it clearly, that everybody was one. even though our country gets divided at times, but at that white we were all together and reunited. it was a good feeling. my drive out interstate 56 and
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everywhere that there were flags. i asked the base exchange, i american we needed flags. they were putting them on her helmet and their hardhats. everywhere was a flag. host: what would you tell a generation of americans years from now about what nine/11 was -- 9/11 was here at the pentagon? you have to be prepared. you cannot assume things will not occur. the lessons were learned from 911. we went around the country doing a presentation. the first lesson is anyone who is a manager and provide -- providing security, be prepared
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for the unexpected. ways in the job i was in , think about the truth unexpected. who would have thought a plane would serve as a flying bomb. you would be thinking about what could occur and what did occur and how would you react to it. you have to be prepared for what might occur in this new world we live in. later on we went through an anthrax threat. another level of threat there. prepared, the world has changed. there is a reason for that. not had to doas that for many years. it may be accepted in the middle
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east and israel, but not there at home or in but it can occur. moms orpons or what chemicals -- bombs or chemicals. we need to be prepared and try todo as much as you can deter and mitigate what might occur. that's a big challenge we are all facing. host: you refer to it as wedge one. how often after the weeks of 9/11 and the months during the renovation and reconstruction did you return to the area and what did you see? when i saw, aa few of the windows had stayed intact but fallen in. they did their job we were hoping it would do. i love those windows.
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there was a marine corps attorney standing right behind the window when the plane hit. work, wekler systems were glad to see that. it showed you could do some things even though you would not expect the plane to give a heck of an impact into the building, you can do some things to mitigate damages to a building. we did a lot of lessons smart from that. now if there is a fire down on the floor level, there is reflective tape because you cannot see in the dark. that reflective tape will glow and you can find your way out. and, wean exit or not strengthen the stairwells in the robust., it is more
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we did more refinement with training. we improve the quality of our security systems. we trained our own personnel. you can't have enough training in terms of emergencies and how -- you have to react instantly. have, a boldface checklist. when something happens, you don't have time to look through a book. just have your people trained boldface checklist. i know exactly what i have to do right away. what is different about the perimeter 10 years later? time, we had to lose a metros -- use a metro station.
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them we had built a place to screen all the delivers to the building away from the building. we found it was very helpful. we put in systems to monitor for chemical and biological weapons. we have on-site hazmat teams. from theization defense protective service to the protection agency was a , sort ofnge all-inclusive from a-c in terms --.ecurity area in that area hit by the
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pentagon, what is there today? guest: a new facility. face the cutaway that section that was damaged by the fire. grabbed --chine and came in and grabbed hopes of concrete and hauled it out. they had to haul the debris out and they used cadaver dogs looking for body parts. of the 100 and five casualties, many of them were not complete. they moved the debris out and cutaway that section of the building and then the renovation , the motto took let's roll and the decision was one year from today we will have that new section complete, and they did.
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it was a 24 hour day work to refill that area. control all the trucks and people so we all work together and one year later that building section was completed. , a sheet one gentleman metal worker, his son was killed there. he came in just to work on that project. it was a terrific job, 12 months and the building was done. host: his son was killed at the pentagon? guest: yes. he was a navy seal are, i believe. host: september 11, but were you there for the rededication ceremony? guest: yes. it was a good feeling day that the building was done. sort of an emotional day for many people.
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it brought back a lot of memories. months and your head was still full of memories. over time you forget some things are it but that day was seeing people you knew that day -- a lot of memories about what happened the year before. it was a very good day. drop a flag over the side of the building like they did that day. it was a good feeling day compared to 12 months before. the 10th anniversary approaches where will you be on september 11? guest: i will be at the pentagon. i would like to see people that i worked with. years everyt 10 september 11 i send an e-mail to saying ie fire chief,
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thinking of you -- i am thinking of you. host: what are your thoughts about all of this? was the most are matt damon my life. life.matic day of my i'm glad i could beat her to help out. there to help out. it was a traumatic thing, my wife told me -- i did an interview with national geographic about the pentagon. they came back to do and they -- to do and update. it did have some effect on me, i'm sure. defensee chief of
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protective services at the pentagon, thank you for sharing your story with us here at c-span. guest: my pleasure. >> you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation find us on facebook at c-span history. c-span remember september 11 with the stories of americans who were at the white house, the u.s. capital, pentagon and in the skies above washington dc. mary beth cahill was senator edwin -- edward kennedy's staff. she remembers that laura bush arrived on capitol hill early that morning to testify before congress to the first lady was with senator kennedy when


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